9 November 2011

Fish Pie No 1 - Jamie Oliver

The only time I have ever bought the Daily Mail was a couple of weeks ago and that was just to get the Jamie Oliver recipe pull out. It had 15 recipes from his new Jamie's Great Britain book and I wanted them - the adverts made my tummy rumble. One of the recipes was his Happy Fish Pie. I don't really need a fish pie recipe - my mum and my husband make such good and such different ones that I never have to look at another fish pie recipe again. I thought I'd give Jamie's a try though... just out of interest.

It was very nice, but for me nowhere near as good as Joe's creamy, mash-topped wonder or my mums amazingly decadent cheese-topped soother. This made me decide to put all three recipes on here so you can make your own choice. Jamie's is great because it recommends the more underused varieties of fish which I am all for. However, you can  use these fish in any fish pie (and I will be) but there isn't as much sauce in this as I like, no boiled eggs and the mash is just not smooth enough. Does this appeal to you? I know that there are so many different little preferences for fish pies (and pies in general) and there is no denying that this one is yummy. So here it is...

Jamie Oliver's Happy Fish Pie

Serves 6-8

2 large leeks
2 large carrots
2 sticks of celery
2 knobs of butter
2 rashers of good quality smoked bacon, roughly chopped
sea salt and white pepper
2 sprigs of rosemary leaves finely chopped
2 fresh bay leaves
1kg (2lb 4oz) Maris Piper potatoes
Olive oil
1 whole nutmeg, for grating
1 x 300ml (1/2 pt) of single cream
2 tsp English mustard
2 handfuls of grated Cheddar cheese
1 lemon
1 kg (2lb 4oz) fish fillets, skinned and pin-boned (Jamie recommends gurnard, coley, pouting and trout - I used pouting, trout, sea bass and responsibly sourced smoked haddock).

Pre-heat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas mark 7. You will need a casserole-type pan that's not too high sided (roughly 20 x 30cm / 8 x 12 in). I like to have my fish ready to go - so cut it into 2cm chunks.

1. Strip the tough outer leaves of the leeks back, then halve, wash well and slice the rest. Roughly chop the carrots and celery.

2. Get your casserole-type pan and add a knob of butter and the chopped bacon and put on a medium heat. When the bacon starts looking crisp and golden, add all the herbs and prepared vegetables to the pan. Season, then put the lid on, turn the heat down a bit and cook for around 15 minutes, stirring every now and again until sweet and tender.

3. While the vegetables cook, peel the potatoes, cut into 2cm (3/4 in) chunks and boil in salted water for around 12-15 minutes or until just cooked. Drain, then leave them to steam dry a few minutes before returning them to the empty pan. Mash with a drizzle of olive oil and a generous knob of butter. Jamie doesn't like to mash to much because it can make the potato gluey rather than light and crisp. Season with care and add a nice grating of nutmeg.

4. When the leeks are ready, add the cream and mustard, simmer for a few seconds, then turn the heat off and sprinkle in half the grated cheese.

5. Stir and season to taste, then grate in a good few swipes of lemon zest, squeeze in the juice and stir again.

6. Cut the fish into 2cm chunks and dot them evenly around the sauce so the fish gets slightly submerged in the beautiful thick sauce. Sprinkle the rest of the cheddar on top.

7. Put forkfuls of mash all over until the surface of the pie is evenly covered. Use a fork to pat, poof and rough it up, leaving a few little gaps for the sauce to bubble through. 

8. Put the dish on the top of the oven for 30 minutes, or until golden, crisp and bubbling. Serve with peas, beans or spinach.

If you want to make this ahead allow everything to cool before assembling then keep in the fridge until you are ready to cook it - then bake for 45 minutes at 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.


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